Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology

2004 Edition
| Editors: Carol R. Ember, Melvin Ember

Medicalization and the Naturalization of Social Control

  • Margaret Lock
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/0-387-29905-X_13

Although medicalization is a concept that has been widely taken up and used by medical anthropologists, it was sociologists who first coined the term and put it into circulation. One of the abiding interests of sociologists concerned with modernization and its effects, particularly those who followed in the legacy of Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons, has been to show how social order is produced and sustained in contemporary society. In this vein the sociologist Irving Zola (1972) argued in the early 1970s that medicine had become a major institution of social control, replacing the more “traditional” institutions of religion and law, resulting in the “medicalizing” of many aspects of daily life in the name of health. Zola’s publication, in which he makes it clear that he is by no means totally opposed to the process he highlights, gave birth to a genre of research in which the cumbersome word medicalization—“to make medical”—was adopted as a key concept.

It can be argued that...

Keywords

Genetic Testing Public Health Initiative Spirit Possession Individual Pathology Urban Tertiary Care 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Lock

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